As many of you know, Eli, my best friend and the mascot here at In Brief Legal Writing Services, had a couple of health scares last year. In fact, it was roughly a year ago this week that he had surgery to remove a small (and thank goodness relatively benign) growth on his back.
With that being stated, I am happy (and relieved) to report that Eli’s most recent vet visit (for his annual checkup and shots) resulted in a clean bill of health. You see, I love him more than life. And even though he’s 11 and I know he won’t live forever, the thought of him getting really sick scares me to death.
And frankly so does this.
According to a recent CNN report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has announced that certain skin cancer creams that prevent or fight the disease in people can be lethal for our pets. Specifically, the FDA is warning the public about creams that contain fluorouracil or 5-FU. Common brand names are Carac, Efudex and Fluoroplex.
The FDA issued the warning after learning about five cases in which animals died after swallowing the cream.
“In one case, a playful dog punctured a tube of fluorouracil cream. Within two hours, the animal began vomiting, experienced seizures and died 12 hours later,” CNN reports. “In another case, a dog ingested a tube of the cream. Though the owner rushed the dog to a veterinarian, who immediately began to treat the animal, the dog’s condition worsened and after three days, the owner deemed it necessary to euthanize the pet.”
Because even a small amount can be deadly, experts are advising pet owners to store the cream in a place where their animals can’t get at it, and to discard it properly when it’s no longer needed.
Additional precautions are warranted. Specifically, the FDA recommends “patients safely discard or clean any cloths or applicators used when applying the cream.” The agency stresses that “it’s also important to make sure clothes, carpets, floors and furniture contain no creamy residue. Hands must also be cleaned after using the cream.”
Most importantly, experts urge pet owners who must use cream containing fluorouracil to avoid contact with their pets after they’ve applied the medicine. This is especially crucial for dog owners, whose animals are likely to lick the areas where the cream is typically applied.
“Immediately consult a veterinarian if a pet becomes exposed to the medicine or begins to vomit, have seizures or show other signs of illness,” the FDA warned.